It’s the season of the staycation.
It’s been a long time coming, but beach trips with the gang are finally on the cards. Nothing screams summer like piling your mates up in the car, windows down, Radio 1 playing while heading off on a little adventure – and while we wish we were jet setting off to some tropical location far, far away from here, there’s really no need. Packed full of hidden gems we might have overlooked if it wasn’t for the pandemic, the UK is home to some stunning, sandy locations. We’re talking white sands, glittering waters and glorious sunshine. Without further ado, here are some of the best beaches the UK has to offer.
1. Formby Beach
Sweeping sands and mysterious sand dunes await at Formby Beach – one of the North West’s best beaches by a mile. The National Trust site is beautiful all year round, with red squirrels frequently the woodlands that lie just behind the sandy landscape. The wholesome spot is the perfect place to sunbathe on a summer day, with horse riders, dog walkers and families favouring this Merseyside beach.
2. Pentle Bay, Scilly Isles
The Scilly Isles might seem like they’re another country, but luckily for us, there’s no need to pack your passport to experience its white sands and turquoise waters. Located just a short boat ride south of Cornwall, the Scilly Isles consist of a number of stunning islands – but Tresco has to be one of the most picturesque. East of the tiny island you’ll find Pentle Bay – one of the UK’s most remote, and therefore most beautiful, beaches. Expect overgrown grassland framing the landscape, white sands, calm clear waters, and just the sound of the birds tweeting in the background.
3. Durdle Door, Jurassic Coast Dorset
The iconic coastline of Durdle Door can be found in lovely Dorset, mostly referred to as the Jurassic Coast. Part of a World Heritage Site, the beautiful beach is a truly unique place to visit, thanks to its highly photographed limestone arch which stands front and centre along the sandy coastline. The beach features beautiful, golden sands, deep blue waters, and is a fantastic place to sunbathe in the summer.
4. South Bay, Scarborough
While Scarborough isn’t the place to go if you’re expecting the Caribbean in Britain, it’s the perfect example of nostalgia. The popular seaside resort is complete with not only a sandy beach, but amusements, ample fish and chip shops and friendly Northerners. What more could you want?
5. Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall
Ok, so we know that the entire Cornish coast is postcard-perfect, but Porthcurno Beach just had to rank in our list of the best beaches in the UK thanks to its tropical-looking white sands and turquoise waters. It really is a fantastic place to visit if you’re looking for that ‘abroad feeling’ with an almost Mediterranian vibe, capturing tons of sunshine over the summer and attracting bouts of sunbathers, too.
6. Camber Sands, Sussex
Camber Sands has long been known as one of the best beaches in the UK – and it’s easy to see why. Similarly to Formby Beach, the gorgeous location is peppered with dramatic sand dunes, making for a unique landscape. While Sussex is mostly known for its pebble beaches, Camber Sands is – as you’ve probably guessed – sandy. Yep. We’re talking gloriously soft, golden sands that’ll have you dying to stick your feet into it. If that wasn’t all, the spot is an incredible place to watch the sunset. Just be sure to have your camera ready.
7. Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris, Scotland
One of the more popular beaches in Harris, Scotland, Luskentyre beach is well-loved for its white sand, clear waters and unique mountain views. The landscape is most definitely one you won’t find in Blackpool – which is exactly why it’s not to miss when staycationing this year. The beach is known for being secluded and has been frequently described as a little ‘slice of heaven’. What more could you want out of the best beaches in the UK?
8. Blackpool Sands, Devon
Blackpool Sands – not to be confused with the North West’s beloved Blackpool – is situated within the glorious English Riviera, which got its name thanks to its resemblance to the stunning French Riviera. While it doesn’t have the guaranteed sunny weather of Monaco, it is a truly beautiful place to visit, with golden sands, looming woodland providing a dramatic backdrop and beautiful deep teal waters to swim in. Further up the coast, you’ll also find a bustling marina, with plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy during your visit.
9. Holkham Beach, Norfolk
Holkham Beach, Norfolk, offers a huge stretch of golden sands – providing a gorgeous place to walk surrounded by unspoilt nature. The nature reserve often attracts dog walkers and families looking for a scenic Sunday stroll, and in the summer, you’ll find kids playing in the lagoon, sunbathers pitched up for the peak of the day and paddlers cooling down in the sea.
10. Kynance Cove, Cornwall
Sand dunes, islets and sea stacks form the unique landscape at Cornwall’s Kynance Cove – which is said to be the most photographed location on the Cornish coast. It’s particularly beautiful in the springtime when happy yellow blooms begin to sprout and bluebells carpet the surrounding nature reserve. But in the summer, it’s a popular spot for sunbathing and swimming, with many flocking the Lizard peninsula to enjoy the beautiful azure-toned waters.
11. Reef Beach, Isle of Lewis, Scotland
12. Pelistry Bay, Isles of Scilly
Kind of like your very own deserted island that you can actually get home from, Pelistry Bay can be found on St Mary’s, part of the Scilly Isles, and like many of the other beaches that form part of the archipelago, it boasts white sands, gorgeous greenery, and clear waters. It’s a very remote place to visit, so go at the right time of year and expect to find a completely untouched stretch of beach just for you – with a lovely café just a few minutes walk away.